Friday, January 18, 2008

Daily Meditation 01/18/08, Confession of St Peter



Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 16, 17; PM Psalm 22
Gen. 6:1-8; Heb. 3:12-19; John 2:1-12

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 16:13-19. You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.

There is a saying among persons of color, "The sister (or brother) can preach!" This refers to the articulate, passionate, and convincing oratorical skills of sisters and brothers who speak from the pulpit. Certain lay and clergy persons among us are riveting proclaimers of the Word, and their words guide us to the gospel.

The gospel was foremost for the friend of Jesus named Peter. Peter was admittedly an "uneducated and common" person, but he knew Jesus. He was impetuous and spontaneous; nonetheless, Peter remained true to the good news of Christ. Disciple, apostle, and rock of the church, he was a brother who could preach and offered this gift with eloquent authority. I imagine Peter to be a strong, tall, dark-skinned, and thick-haired person. Today, he might fit in with a group of bikers, migrant workers, or NASCAR fans.

Regardless of his appearance Peter is remembered for how he lived. The church is blessed by his affirmation of faith, being filled with the Holy Spirit, belief in salvation of Jesus, and commitment to this one and only Name under heaven. Peter the saint and rock is venerated for preaching Christ crucified. The brother could preach!

Today we remember:

Confession of St. Peter:
AM Psalm 66, 67; Ezekiel 3:4-11; Acts 10:34-44
PM Psalm 118; Ezekiel 34:11-16; John 21:15-22

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Algoma (Ontario, Canada)

Speaking to the Soul:

You are the Christ

Daily Reading for January 18 • The Confession of St. Peter the Apostle

From apostolic times, Jesus has been spoken of, and proclaimed, as the Christ, the anointed One. While such usage is common in the earliest Christian preaching, it is not common in the Gospel accounts, although Peter proclaims Jesus as the Christ at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8.29; Matt. 16.16; Luke 9.20). However, Mark tells us that Jesus forbade his disciples to speak of this (Mark 8.30), and he himself does not speak of himself as the Christ (apart from the two references in Matt. 23.10 and Mark 9.41 which are from secondary sources). Christ, Messiah, was not at this time a divine or even supernatural title, but was associated with an act of earthly liberation, with the restoration of Israel. Whether Jesus ever specifically accepted the title is not clear. When asked by the High Priest about the claim to messianic status, he seems to have accepted it (Mark 14.61; Matt. 26.63) though this may simply reflect the early Church’s view. Yet within a generation of the crucifixion the name ‘Christian’ was being used in Antioch (Acts 11.26), and King Agrippa II knows and understands this usage (26.28).

In view of the clear centrality of the identification of Jesus with the Christ/Messiah in the early Church’s preaching, it is significant that there is so little evidence in the Synoptics, or even in John, for an explicit claim from the lips of Jesus himself. Had there been more evidence to produce, the early Church would surely have produced it in support of their belief. . . . It was out of the experience of what Jesus had achieved, in his ministry, death, and resurrection, and out of reflection on this achievement in the light of the Jewish hope, that the early Christians came quickly to see Jesus as the Messiah.

From Experiencing God: Theology as Spirituality by Kenneth Leech (Harper and Row, 1985).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not because it stands for a chance to succeed.
— Vaclav Havel quoted in Lyrics for Re-Creation by James Conlon

To Practice This Thought: Join a group doing good in the world and really believe in its goals, no matter what happens.
++++++++++ Reflections

The Father spoke one Word, which was His Son, and this Word He always speaks in eternal silence, and in silence must It be heard by the soul.
St John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love.

Reading from the Desert Christians


The enemy of our salvation especially strives to draw our heart
and mind away from God when we are about to serve Him, and
endeavours to adulterously attach our heart to something
irrelevant. Be always, every moment, with God, especially when you
pray to Him. If you are inconstant, you will fall away from life,
and will cast yourself into sorrow and straitness.

St. John of Kronstadt

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Finding Solitude

All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.

Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Eighteen - The Second Way of Service, cont'd

As well as the devotional study of Scripture, we all recognize our Christian responsibility to pursue other branches of study, both sacred and secular. In particular, some of us accept the duty of contributing, through research and writing, to a better understanding of the church's mission in the world: the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth; questions concerning justice and peace; and of all other questions concerning the life of faith.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

January 18th, 2008
Friday’s Reflection

that we are helpless
before God.
We must trust
that our Creator
will come and find us.

- Daniel Wolpert
Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices

From p. 63 of Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices by Daniel Wolpert. Copyright © 2003 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Call to Church

Question of the day:
How is solidarity more challenging than altruism and generosity?

The term Third World was coined at the United Nations back in the 1950's. I remember thinking, Well, that's about as low as you can go. Third World countries are those with low potential and low development. But there are Fourth World countries with some potential and no development and there are Fifth World countries with no potential and no development, like Nepal. I was in Nepal, in fact, giving a retreat to the Jesuits. They said, Welcome to a Fifth World country. And I said, What? There is such a thing?

It's hard for us even to comprehend that two people living on the same planet could live in such utterly different worlds. The gospel isn't asking us to be do-gooders or altruistic, the big white fathers and big white mothers. I think it's calling for something that's really much harder than altruism and generosity (although that certainly is asked for in cases). The gospel is calling us into solidarity.

The First World Churches will never be converted until they receive the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth parts of Christ's Body.

from Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

Support the companion of your pilgrimage

You are told to love God. If you say to me: Show me whom I am to love, what shall I say if not what Saint John says: No one has ever seen God! But in case you should think that you are completely cut off from the sight of God, he says: God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God. Love your neighbor, then, and see within yourself the power by which you love your neighbor; there you will see God, as far as you are able.

Begin, then, to love your neighbor. Share your bread with the hungry and bring into your home the homeless poor; clothe anyone you see to be naked, and do not despise your own flesh and blood.

What will you gain by doing this? Your light will burst forth like the dawn. Your light is your God: he is your dawn, for he will come to you when the night of time is over. He does not rise or set but remains for ever.

By loving other people and caring for them you make progress on your journey. Where are you traveling if not to the Lord God, to him whom we should love with our whole heart, our whole soul, or our whole mind? We have not yet reached his presence, but we have our neighbor at our side. Support, then, this companion of your pilgrimage if you want to come into the presence of the one with whom you desire to remain for ever.

Augustine of Hippo

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God." John 20:28

"Give Me to drink." How many of us are set upon Jesus Christ slaking our thirst when we ought to be satisfying Him? We should be pouring out now, spending to the last limit, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me" - that means a life of unsullied, uncompromising and unbribed devotion to the Lord Jesus, a satisfaction to Him wherever He places us.

Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. It is easier to serve than to be drunk to the dregs. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings. Are we being more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 18, May 19, September 18
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

1. In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole strength.
2. Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
3. Then not to murder.
4. Not to commit adultery.
5. Not to steal.
6. Not to covet.
7. Not to bear false witness.
8. To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
9. And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
10. To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
11. To chastise the body.
12. Not to become attached to pleasures.
13. To love fasting.
14. To relieve the poor.
15. To clothe the naked.
16. To visit the sick.
17. To bury the dead.
18. To help in trouble.
19. To console the sorrowing.
20. To become a stranger to the world's ways.
21. To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

At first glance, of course, this opening paragraph on the instruments of the spiritual art seems to be a relatively standard and basic reference to a biblical description of the holy life. And that seems sound. The trouble is that it also seems strange.

The surprise is that Benedict does not call us first to prayer or sacrifice or devotions or asceticisms. This is, after all, a contemplative lifestyle. It is at the same time, however, a communal lifestyle for "that most valiant kind of monastic heart," who sets out to find the holy in the human. The call to contemplation here is the call not simply to see Christ in the other but to treat the other as Christ. Benedict calls us first to justice: love God, love the other, do no harm to anyone.

First, Benedict instructs the monastic to keep the commandments. Then, in this next paragraph, the Rule requires the keeping of the corporal works of mercy. Benedictine monasticism is, apparently, not an escape from life. This spirituality is life lived with an eye on those for whom life is a terrible burden. "Do not pamper yourself," the Rule insists. "Relieve the lot of the poor."

The monastic heart is not just to be a good heart. The monastic heart is to be good for something. It is to be engaged in the great Christian enterprise of acting for others in the place of God.


Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Luke 21:37-22:8 (1/18) For Fri of the 34th Week after
Pentecost (Fri of the 29th Week)

Embraced by Eternity: St. Luke 21:37-22:8, especially vs. 37: "And in
the daytime He was teaching in the Temple, but at night He went out and
stayed on the mountain called Olivet." Metropolitan of Nafpaktos
Hierotheos asserts that "we Orthodox...through living in Christ...are
running to meet the end of history and thus...the eternal embraces us at
every moment of time. Therefore past, present, and future are
essentially lived in one unbroken unity." Look at these verses from St.
Luke: Christ embraces the daytime "teaching in the Temple" (vs. 21:37),
spends the night "on the mountain called Olivet" (vs. 21:37), and
arranges for the Passover meal in the afternoon "when the Passover must
be killed" (vs. 22:7). The eternal moves through time touching us at
every hour, in our learning, our resting, and our celebrating. At no
moment let us forget the presence of Christ our God, but, in every
hour, meet Him Who makes each moment eternity and gives timeless purpose
to everything.

Do you wish to learn, to know, to understand? There are many schools
all across the land with teachers offering courses, knowledge,
education, learning, skills, and disciplines. You may go to them, hear
them, let them teach you; and, most likely, you will benefit to some
degree - more or less. If you enroll, you will be like all those people
who came early in the morning to hear Christ in the Temple. They wanted
to learn something, to be enlightened by Him, the Eternal in their
midst. They did not "happen" to hear Him, they "came to" Him
deliberately (vs. 21:38). What He taught they wanted. Likewise, if you
would learn from the Eternal, you must choose to come to Him, seek Him
out in Temples, in prayer, in the pages of Holy Scripture, from teachers
who know Him, at services honoring Him. You must unite yourself to Him.

Are you exhausted by the stress and corrosion of your life? Do you want
to rest? "At night" the Eternal "went out and stayed on the mountain
called Olivet" (vs. 21:37), and those with Him took their rest there.
He gave those hours to them for rest. At every moment He invites those
who will to join Him on the mountain to take their rest in Him: "Come to
Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I Am gentle and lowly in
heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and
My burden is light" (Mt. 11:28-30).

The presence of the Eternal in every moment is not welcomed by all, and
sometimes not by anyone. His embrace can create fear, which will stir
up a cold intent in some to be rid of Him by whatever means. "And the
chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they
feared the people" (Lk. 22:2). "They feared the people" because the
populace liked to hear Him, so much so that they sought Him out to hear
Him in the Temple run by the chief priests and scribes. Therefore,
eliminating Him had be done covertly, privately, out of the public eye,
lest the people retaliate for having Him killed. Why did the chief
priests and the scribes want to kill Him? The desire to destroy another
ignites when position, power, and control are threatened; and the
Eternal holds the highest position, the greatest power, and ultimate
control. At times He may even threaten you for that reason. Or, if you
are united to Him, hatred of Him may fall on you!

The Eternal is inviting you to Passover, to His Eternal Pascha, that you
might eat with Him at His table. He has sent His Apostles to prepare
the table before you "in the presence of them that afflict" you (Ps.
22:5 LXX). Will you remain united to Him, acknowledge Him Who embraces
every moment, and partake of Him, the Passover Lamb "Who takes away the
sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29)? Have you learned enough from Him, and
rested enough in Him, to set aside your fear of Him and come to the
Paschal Banquet with Him?

Thou art our God, and we know none other beside Thee. We call upon Thy


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